Support The Moscow Times!

Putin Says Korea Conflict Would Be Worse Than Chernobyl

North Korean military dogs attacking a mock target of South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Saturday.

HANOVER, Germany — President Vladimir Putin expressed concern Monday about the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and said conflict there could cause greater devastation than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

"I would make no secret about it; we are worried about the escalation on the Korean Peninsula, because we are neighbors," Putin told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to a trade fair in Germany.

"And if, God forbid, something happens, Chernobyl, which we all know a lot about, may seem like a child's fairy tale. Is there such a threat or not? I think there is," he said.

Chernobyl in Ukraine was the site of the worst nuclear power disaster in history in April 1986 when one of its reactors exploded during a safety experiment, sending out a plume of highly radioactive fallout.

Large areas of Ukraine, neighboring Belarus and Russia were contaminated. Radioactive dust also spread across parts of western Europe.

Putin, whose vast country shares a border with North Korea, urged all protagonists in the Korean crisis to act calmly and to support a diplomatic solution of "problems that have piled up for many years."

The Russian leader praised a U.S. decision over the weekend to postpone a planned missile test as part of efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"I think we should all thank the U.S. leadership for this step," Putin said. "I hope it will be noticed by our North Korean partners that certain conclusions will be drawn, everyone will calm down and start joint work to ease the situation."

Merkel told the same news conference that North Korea should halt its "provocations."

Speculation has been mounting that North Korea will launch some sort of provocative action in the coming days — an arms test or a missile launch — after weeks of bellicose threats against the South and the United States.

The prospect of another test has further boosted tensions, already driven up by Pyongyang's fury over the imposition of new U.S. sanctions after its last nuclear test in February. Earlier on Monday, South Korea rebuffed suggestions that a North Korean nuclear arms test may be imminent.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more